New York: Drupal is one of the most prominent content management systems and is used by about 2.1% of all websites worldwide. Alex Fisher, a native of Dearborn, Michigan was able to build a business with six employees by designing websites using Drupal. Commercial Progression counts organizations like National Geographic Channel, TRW Automotive, the University of Michigan, and Detroit Public TV as customers.
Fisher worked at Ford’s communications division for 7 years while attending school at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. This is when Ford used to have a TV network with several channels broadcasting programs demonstrating how to fix and sells cars. After working at Ford, Fisher joined a company called Move Networks, but was laid off along with many other employees in 2009. This is when Fisher decided to take the plunge and start his own company with a $4,000 investment of his own money.
Upon going full-time on Commercial Progression, Fisher signed 3 major customers and had 4 contractors working with him. One of the hardest decisions he made was to limit their work exclusively on Drupal rather than using multiple platforms.
This turned out to be an advantage for the company. Fisher opened up an office last year and business has increased ten-fold compared to their first year in business as a result of sticking to Drupal exclusively. “There is a shortage for great Drupal developers which are why some of the bigger companies end up hiring some of the smaller shops rather than large consulting companies,” Fisher told me in an interview.
I asked Fisher how the company accounts for scaling and security. He said that there was one client that sent out a marketing campaign for readers to get a big prize and gave them a short notice about it. The company quickly scaled up their resources in response to the surge in traffic. From that point forward, the company started to use cloud hosting with Amazon Web Services to support the website. In terms of security, Commercial Progression uses PCI standards for credit card transactions and they conduct nightly data back-ups.
Since Commercial Progression had a lot to gain from the Drupal platform, they decided to give back to the community. Commercial Progression is active in the annual DrupalCon event and submits their own open-source modules and plugins. Fisher also started an organization called Michigan Drupal that is hosted at the Commercial Progression office every month.
Commercial Progression is based in the heart of downtown Northville, Michigan. Fisher told me that he keeps his company based in Michigan because of the determination and passion that he sees in people around the area trained at some of the best universities in the country. The metro Detroit area has a history and culture that is different from everywhere else in the world. “Our office is actually made of brick-and-mortar and was an old furniture store that was built in the 1800′s,” Fisher told me. Creating a digital culture within the walls of traditional architectural buildings can help breed creativity.
Drupal Development in New York